Activision Blizzard Forms ‘Workplace Responsibility Committee’ In Response To Alleged Harassment

What happened now? This week, Activision Blizzard announced the formation of a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” to try to address the concerns the company has reported of workplace harassment. This is the latest in a series of responses to multiple lawsuits and investigations in which many senior officials are accused of discriminating against female employees. All three game console makers have expressed concern about the situation, and the CEO said his departure is possible.

Activision Blizzard announced he appointed two independent directors to the new committee, Dawn Ostroff and Reveta Bowers. The company is also looking for a third “diversified director” to add to the board of directors. The press release added that CEO Bobby Kotick will report on progress frequently and that Activision will require management to develop performance metrics to show progress. The company has been conducting assessments since October.

Employees have already criticized the creation of the committee because Ostroff and Bowers had been directors of Activision Blizzard for years and did not trust the company’s insiders to control themselves. According to World of Warcraft Senior UI Engineer, the staff asked for those who are not under the control of the company.

Since the summer, Activision Blizzard has been involved in a California sexual harassment lawsuit, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint in which the company was accused of allowing a “boy-brother” culture to be subjected to discrimination against female employees. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an extensive report claiming that Kitty had known about the persecution for much longer than was previously known.

Since then, the employee’s petition demanding that Kitty be removed from office has reached more than 1,800 signatures, and a group of investor activists also asked Kotik to step down. Until now, the board of the company has supported Kotik.

Executives from all three console makers say they are worried about the reports. The PlayStation CEO expressed disappointment at Activision Blizzard’s protection of Kitty, while the Xbox chief said they are currently redefining their relationship with the company. Most recently, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser mentioned that the company took some action and considers others.

According to the WSJ, Kitty told senior executives at the meeting that he could to resign if the changes did not come to the company quickly enough. Many other high-level employees have already resigned over the past few months, including Blizzard’s president, chief attorney, and high-level game designers.

Image Credit: Pop Culture Computer Fan Network (CC BY 2.0)

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